Doctoral thesis: Singer's Voice and Expression – A Bodily Approach to Listening to a Singer, Using Björk as an Example (2012, in Finnish)
What is the singer’s expression and how can it be approached? How does a listener understand a singer’s expression through his/her own body? What is the relationship between the singer’s expression and the singer’s voice? These were the primary questions of this research. The starting point of this study was the notion that to sing is to move. Without movement, there would be no sound. A listener can sense the singer’s expression and understand it through the proprioceptive, inner sensitivity of his own body. Therefore singer’s expression can actually “move” or “touch” the listener. This “being moved” can be felt as a sensation of movement or change in the proprioception of the body. The analytic and empathic listening methods were developed in this study to examine the singer’s voice and expression phrase by phrase at its micro-level. The voice of Icelandic singer Björk was used as an example.
The Feel of Singing – Aesthetic Body Awareness in the Vocal Experiences of Deaf, Tone-deaf, and People with Vocal Disorders (2018-2020)
Singing can be considered an essential extent of human expression. However, socio-cultural norms in our Western culture determine what kind of singing is acceptable and what is not. People are divided into those who can sing and those who can’t. Singing is advisable only for those who can. In this research, I will examine amateur singers whose singing does not meet the requirements of “good singing” – and whose possibilities to express themselves vocally are therefore socially diminished. I will argue that the singing voice should not be the only factor that determines whether the singing is aesthetically valuable or not. The aesthetic potential of singing is connected not only to the vocal sounds as an auditive phenomenon but also to the bodily sensations as a proprioceptive and interoceptive phenomenon. Traditionally, proprioceptive inner-body sensations have not been considered as potentially aesthetic experiences. Despite that, I will argue that in addition to hearing, proprioception is a significant part of the aesthetic experience in singing.